The mission of the El Paso County Parks & Special Events Division is to provide a safe, healthy, and enjoyable recreation environment for the citizens of El Paso County. By providing a rich mix of cultural, recreational, and social opportunities, citizens of El Paso County and their visitors can enjoy an enhanced quality of life. This division falls under the Public Works Department.
El Paso County Parks began with Ascarate Park in central El Paso. Covering more than 400 acres, it is one of the largest parks in El Paso County. Originally part of a banco, or river loop, or the Rio Grande, the land was deeded to the county by the federal government after an International boundary Commission rectification project straightened the river in the early 1930s. the National Park Service designed the park for the county when nearly three-quarters of El Paso county residents voted in 1937 for a special tax to help fund its construction. More than 200 Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) laborers planted thousands of trees; built baseball fields, tennis courts, a recreation center and golf course; and removed more than 1 million cubic yards of sand to create the 45-acre lake, which opened in December 1940. the project was the CCC's largest in Texas. The park is named for the Ascarate family, El Paso-area pioneers who owned a large ranch near the park. The County of El Paso has operated and maintained the park since its construction.
From the Ascarate project, El Paso County Parks & Special Events has grown to include dozens of rural parks, the Sportspark, and pools serving Canutillo and Fabens. The Ascarate Golf Course continues to be a community staple, and where most children first learn how to swing a club. Utilizing all the assets in the parks system, El Paso County Parks & Special Events produces free community events, educational tours, and more.